A photo of The Best Wine Tasting Tours and Winery Visits in the UK

United Kingdom
wine tasting tours and winery visits

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Why Visit United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom may not be the first country that springs to mind when it comes to wine focused holidays and experiences, but the country is enjoying a boom in wine production. New vineyards are popping up across the country all the time: from Kent to Cornwall, Surrey to Sussex. There are wineries as far north as Fife in Scotland and as far west as Anglesey in Wales. In fact, by 2100 the UK is predicted to be a major player on the global winemaking stage. Visit the UK and discover this exciting, up-and-coming wine region for yourself. 

Since the release of Nyetimber’s 1992 Blanc de Blancs, one of the very first English sparkling wines, the country’s reputation as a quality sparkling wine producer has strengthened. Indeed, English sparkling wines are often compared, rather favourably, to that slightly more well-known region across the Channel called Champagne. If the rumours are to be believed, the increasingly warmer climate and favourable terroir has even enticed French Champagne houses to invest in areas of England’s green and pleasant land for grape growing. Not convinced? Visit Wiston Estate, Gusbourne or Hush Heath where you can taste their critically acclaimed bubbles. 

We’re talking about whisky of course: Scotland’s national drink. Scotland is home to over 100 working distilleries, each creating a whisky that is unique in flavour and character. The best way to discover which whisky suits your palate is to visit one, or more, of Scotland’s five whisky producing regions and sample a few. Many distilleries offer tours, tastings, and the opportunity to learn the process of whisky production. 

The United Kingdom boasts stunning natural landscapes and areas of outstanding natural beauty. When you’re not wine and whisky tasting take time to explore the country’s natural wonders: the pristine lakes and river valleys; rolling hills and mountainous peaks; sandy beaches, windswept cliffs, and craggy coastline. Journey away from the bright lights of the big cities and discover the country’s historic towns and picturesque villages where a pub lunch is a quintessentially British experience. 

Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

The UK’s cool climate vineyards grow predominantly white grapes. Bacchus was first planted in the UK in 1973 and is now one of the main white grape varieties grown. It has hints of gooseberry and elderflower and is frequently compared with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Another white grape that thrives in the UK’s cooler climate, but is less widely grown, is Seyval Blanc. It’s a good all-rounder grape which is used for blending and also creates crisp, single varietal still wines. When it comes to creating England’s critically acclaimed sparkling wines, the grapes used are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the same holy trinity of grapes that form the basis for the vast majority of Champagne. The increasing popularity of English sparkling wine has unsurprisingly seen an increase in the number of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines planted in recent years, and these varieties now make up the bulk of the grapes grown in the UK. 
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Best time to visit

Whilst the weather in the UK can be split into four seasons, the country doesn’t experience extremes in weather conditions and so can be visited year-round. The rainfall can be unpredictable so we always suggest travelling with an umbrella, but you can (virtually) guarantee that the further south you go, the warmer the temperature will be.  Winter is the perfect time of year to cosy up in front of a roaring fire with a large glass of red wine or a Scottish whisky. January and February are typically the coldest months of the year, and snow can be expected at this time of year across the highlands of Scotland and the mountainous regions of Wales and northern England. It’s worth noting that in Scotland some hotels and restaurants close during winter.  The summer months are typically the hottest of the year, although temperatures are rarely uncomfortable. It is the busiest time of year to travel throughout the UK, due to school holidays and the promise of warm, dry weather. Advance booking is recommended.   Spring and Autumn are excellent times of the year to visit the UK, when the countryside is at its most picturesque and the number of holiday makers fewer than during the busy summer months. Autumn is an excellent time of year to visit the country’s vineyards as they gear up for harvest season. And it’s game season, so expect wild duck, grouse, and pheasant on the menu.
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How long to stay

Wine and food focused holidays in the UK can be as short or as long as you wish! In a long weekend you can enjoy a city break that is busy with food walking tours, wine or whisky tasting experiences, and cultural sightseeing.  In a week you would have time to visit several whisky distilleries in Scotland in search of a whisky to match your palette. Or you could base yourself in an English wine region, visiting different vineyards and exploring the countryside.   If you can spare longer for a UK holiday you could visit more than one English wine region or even travel more extensively throughout the country, experiencing the contrasting destinations, food and wine of England, Wales and Scotland. The Winerist team will be happy to create the perfect itinerary to fit your time scale. 
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How to get there

When planning how to get to the UK your choice of entry airport will depend on the destination you are visiting.  If you’re travelling to Scotland, the main international airports are in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Most whisky-tasting tours can be arranged from these two cities.   If you’re travelling to England, London Heathrow Airport is the closest international airport to the wine region of Hampshire; London Gatwick Airport is the closest international airport to the wine regions of Kent and Sussex ; either airport can be used if your destination is Surrey, and if you’re visiting the wineries in the Cotswolds then you can use either Bristol Airport or London Heathrow.  If you’re travelling to Wales, then Cardiff International Airport will be your best point of entry. 
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Top Wine Regions in United Kingdom

Experience Types

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